The Division’s annual XXXX Chairman’s Challenge series this year was hosted in Brisbane by Souths Juniors at its Brandon Park Complex and again the weekend produced some high quality rugby league, in both the A grade and the under 19s matches. The results returned some pride to the Gold Coast although the Ipswich Diggers lost their first under age championship series since this format was introduced in 2008 under the South East Queensland banner.
On Friday night, two penalty goals and a try handed Brisbane a 10 nil lead after 15 minutes. Ipswich crossed next and added a try under the posts right on half-time to level the scores at the break. Two quick tries early in the second term, in each corner by the Brisbane wingers, saw them lead 18 – 10. Ipswich crossed for a try to reduce the margin again but Brisbane clicked again to run away comfortable winners by 32 – 14.
On Saturday it was the Diggers who scored first before Gold Coast posted back to back tries for an 8 – 6 lead. However, Ipswich scored again right on half-time for a 12 – 8 margin at the break. The teams swapped tries early in the second half before the Vikings hit the front 20 – 16 with ten minutes to go in the game. However, a mistake from the kick-off handed possession to Ipswich who went on to score two more tries to post an exciting 28 – 20 victory.
Sunday saw an improved Gold Coast throw the football around and score three first half tries to lead easily 14 to nil at half-time. However, Brisbane knowing they had to win a half to secure the trophy, were impressive in defence and fought hard to level the scores at 14 all in the final minutes. A late penalty goal handed Brisbane a thrilling 16 – 14 win and saw them clinch their maiden under 19s title.
The Friday night A grade clash was a see-sawing contest throughout, delighting the crowd. Ipswich played entertaining football to have a handy 16 – 0 margin in the first half. Brisbane however then dominated the latter stages for a 16 all score at half-time. This trend continued early in the second term for Brisbane to build a handy lead 28 – 16, before the Diggers produced more of their attacking flair adding four tries to post a 34 – 28 victory.
Ipswich were again first to score in the Saturday match to raise their supporters hopes of repeating last year’s series win. However, Gold Coast fought back to lead 14 – 6 at half-time and added a further three tries in the second stanza for a deserved 30 points to 6 win over the Diggers.
In the Sunday clash it was Brisbane that dominated the first half field position, preventing Ipswich from completing a tackle in their attacking 20 metre zone. Gold Coast, through an intercept and a turnover by the fullback from a kick-chase, held a handy 18 – 6 margin at half-time. Two quick tries to Vikings fullback Jake Carl early in the second half extended this advantage to 28 – 6, before Brisbane’s Dominic Biondi scored his second try to give supporters some hope. A late try to Gold Coast sealed a good 32 – 12 win and also returned the trophy to the Vikings after their disappointing series last year in Ipswich.
The Division selected its 19 member SEQ representative team for the QRL State-wide Carnival which will be hosted at Southport’s Owen Park from Friday 2nd – Sunday 4th of June.